Osh Tourism FestivalAugust 17, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C
When we arrived in Osh two days ago, we had every intention to simply get the car in good shape, stock up and straight away leave for the Pamir Highway again.
Well, as usual, plans change. We staid at Sunny hostel (where we were allowed to only use facilities and sleep in the car in the carpark) and I saw a flyer for the Osh tourism festival immediately. A chance to see local culture and customs up close couldn't be missed.
So Tom, I and the Kudliks (who had caught up with us at this stage) decided to stay for a few more days.
And we weren't disappointed. After another day of getting things organised, we meet back at the hostel ("Visit Osh" for the last night in the city as part of the festival organisers had prebooked "Sunny") around 5pm and walk towards the festival ground. Police cars blocking the road and a few more scattered people than usual are the first sign of reaching the event.
Amazingly, we've made it just in time: the silk road caravan, consisting of a few horsemen, a camel, two yaks and different groups displaying the various ethnicities of the region, is passing right in front of us. Music, smiles and waves and lots of pictures follow.
Once the caravan and we reach the actual festival site, we get to watch crafts, performances and even a fashion show - whose stars were the grandmas displaying gorgeous, ethnic dresses and funny smirks. However, the real attraction seems to be, well, us. Foreigners. The tourists visiting Osh. We're being interviewed, photos are taken, videos shot. We hardly walk another two metres before someone else is excited to practice their English and in some cases their German with us. Suddenly, we're on the other side of the fence. We talk to locals, the volunteers at the festival (Osh's youth), the police commander and the Kudliks even get to meet the mayor. It's interesting to see how important tourism appears to be for this region and to which extent everyone wants to make us feel welcome.
It culminates in two girls quickly approaching me in order to gift us some honey. Just like that. How sweet!
All in all, I'd say the festival was not only a display of regional costumes and customs, but of the heartfelt hospitality that runs through the local people' veins. Definitely worth staying for a little longer in the city.Read more